10 Best Yeti, Igloo, and Coleman Coolers for Tailgating

One of the most important parts of the tailgating experience is making sure you have your drinks on ice and ready to drink. You are going to have a lot of coolers to choose from but I like the YETI Tundra 65 tailgating cooler the best. This cooler is the perfect size and weight for most tailgates. This cooler will comfortable hold a 30 pack while also leaving room for food or condiments. As with most YETI coolers, this one will also keep your ice from melting for several days.

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These are the 10 best coolers for tailgating in 2021:

  1. YETI Tundra 65 Cooler for Tailgating (click here to view)
  2. Igloo Polar Tailgating Cooler 120-Quart (click here to view)
  3. YETI Tundra Haul Wheeled Cooler for Tailgating (click here to view)
  4. Igloo Ice Cube Maxcold Roller 70-Quart Cooler for Tailgating (click here to view)
  5. Coleman Wheeled Cooler 50 Quart Tailgating cooler (click here to view)
  6. YETI Tundra 160 Tailgating Cooler (click here to view)
  7. Coleman Steel-Belted Tailgating Cooler 54 Quart (click here to view)
  8. YETI Roadie 20 Tailgating Cooler (click here to view)
  9. Coleman 62 Quart Xtreme Cooler for Tailgating (click here to view)
  10. Igloo Trailmate Journey Tailgating Cooler 70 quart (click here to view)

The first thing you are going to need to know is how big of a cooler you want. Bigger coolers are nice as they allow you the space needed for drinks and food items such as condiments. With the all the added space is going to come weight and will be much harder for one person to handle.

You will also want to know how premium of a cooler you want. Some coolers can keep ice from melting for up to 5 days, but that isn’t always needed for a tailgate that lasts one day. You may also want additional features like wheels, handles, table space, and cup holders.

Knowing how big of a cooler you are going to need and all the options will help you narrow down what cooler you should buy. In this article we will break down the different options you have by brand and options each cooler has to help you find the cooler that you need.

Best Yeti Coolers for Tailgating

YETI’s are the most premium brand of cooler on the market today. Yes, they are pricey, but if you are after quality that will also get you some compliments along the way, YETIs are the way to go.

YETI coolers are hip to own, and when you combine the status you gain by owning one with the premium ice-preservation of a YETI, these coolers are in high demand even if they are a bit pricey. In this section we will discuss the four best YETI coolers for tailgating based on the size of your tailgate.

YETI Tundra 65 Cooler for Tailgating

  • Medium-sized Tailgate Party
  • Fits up to 40 cans (depending on ice)
  • Best cooler brand on market
  • 30.5″L x 16″H x 17.5″W (Outside)

This is our winner and recommendation for best YETI cooler for tailgating (and best cooler for tailgating). Yes, it’s expensive, but not only are YETIs the best cooler brand on the market, but (as mentioned already) they also get noticed and might draw compliments. YETI coolers preserve ice much longer than other cooler brands.

This is the current price of this YETI cooler at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon). The YETI Tundra 65 cooler is a medium-sized cooler that gives you enough space for 30 cans, ice, and also have room left over for food that you might need to store in the cooler. This isn’t the largest cooler option, but we are also trying to not recommend an overkill.

If you have an extremely large tailgate, you will want to opt for a larger cooler than this. But if you have 4-6 people, and are looking for a premium cooler to store beverages and meat, this is the perfect option.

Again, there is a bit of sticker price shock when you look at YETI coolers. But rest easy knowing they are the best coolers available today, and will likely get multiple years of quality use out of this cooler. YETI Tundra coolers are usually shipped with a dry goods basket also.

Ice will keep in YETI Tundras for maybe even up to 4 days (depending on situation), and although that won’t directly affect you while tailgating, it should give you peace of mind knowing that those brutal August and early September tailgates (that can reach triple digits heat index) will not plow through your ice in only a couple hours time (like will be the case with some cheap coolers).

YETI Tundra Haul Wheeled Cooler for Tailgating

  • Medium-sized Tailgate Party
  • Fits up to 45 cans comfortably
  • Wheeled for mobility
  • 28.25″L x 19.5″H x 18.63″W (Outside)

If you want a YETI for your tailgate, but are a bit worried about how heavy YETI coolers can be, this wheeled YETI Tundra Portable cooler is your best option. This is the only YETI that comes pre-made with wheels.

This cooler will be ideal for medium-sized tailgates of about 5-10 people – it fits up to 45 cans comfortable. There should be plenty of room for both beverages and food.

It’s also worth noting that you actually can buy wheels separately for YETI coolers, just in case you like one of the other options better and want to add wheels. But if you would prefer to have wheels already built in, this is the option for you.

This cooler has an empty weight of 37 pounds so the wheels should come in handy. Unfortunately, this YETI Tundra does not come will a dry goods basket.

Just like with other YETI Tundra coolers (that have the extreme insulation), you should be able to get several days of ice preservation (maybe even up to 4).

YETI Tundra 160 Tailgating Cooler

  • Large-sized Tailgate Party
  • Fits up to 100 cans comfortably
  • Large cooler gives you versatility
  • 45″L x 21.5″H x 19.5″W (Outside)

If you need one of the biggest coolers for tailgating that offers a lot of premium options, this is probably it. It didn’t win our overall recommendation for best YETI cooler for tailgating only because it may be a bit of an overkill for most tailgate parties.

But if you are hosting a large tailgate for 10+ people, this is your best option. Be forewarned, this YETI is not cheap. But take comfort knowing that the money is going into a trustable brand.

Also, because this is a large YETI, and YETI have so much insulation, this cooler will be quite heavy and will need two people to transport it. This cooler weighs 54 pounds EMPTY (mainly due to the extreme insulation).

This cooler is large enough that you should be able to fit 80-100 cans along with ice and food. It also should come with a dry goods basket.

This tailgating cooler also has a groove down the middle that can hold a divider so that you can divide your food from your beverages if need be (sold separately).

Also, because this YETI is so large, it will also provide a couple extra bench seats for your tailgate as long as you don’t mind people sitting on your cooler. If you are a boater or camper, this is a perfect cooler to invest in and use for tailgating and boating/camping.

It’s also worth mentioning that if you are hosting a giant tailgate, with 25 people (or more), and you need something huge, you can try the YETI 250 Tundra (click here to view it on Amazon; affiliate link). Just be advised this is a very large cooler and when full, you will need multiple people to carry it.

YETI Roadie 20 Tailgating Cooler

  • Small-sized Tailgate Party
  • Fits up to 14 cans comfortably
  • Good for personal use
  • 19″L x 14.38″H x 13.75″W (Outside)

This is our recommendation if you are looking for a premium tailgating cooler either for 1) personal use at a tailgate or 2) to host a tailgate party for yourself and maybe 1-2 other people.

With this YETI Roadie cooler you can fit 10-14 cans along with a few snacks. If you won’t be cooking at your tailgate and are just looking for a premium cooler to store a 12-pack in, this is your cooler.

Best Coleman and Igloo Coolers for Tailgating

Coleman and Igloo coolers will offer more affordable options if you are operating on a budget. YETI coolers are undoubtedly better coolers and preserve ice much longer, but for a one day tailgate party, you might not need to worry about ice-preservation as much as you would if you were camping.

Of course, YETI coolers also can draw some compliments, and Coleman and Igloo coolers likely won’t, but does it really matter to you anyway? Here are the best Coleman coolers for tailgating and the best Igloo coolers for tailgating if you are looking to save a bit on price:

Igloo Polar Tailgating Cooler

  • Very Large Tailgate Party
  • Fits up to 188 cans
  • Ultratherm insulation
  • 38.31″L x 17.38″W x 17.75″D (Exterior)

Okay, this is our choice for the best Igloo cooler for tailgating and in our opinion is your best option if you are hosting a massive tailgate party of 20-25+ people and looking to find a cooler on a budget. This cooler has a 188-can capacity, and therefore gives you the ability to store 150 cans and food comfortably.

This cooler weights 18.2 pounds empty. So it is much lighter than the YETI coolers of similar size that can weight 50+ pounds empty. Also, this cooler has a threaded drain so you can hook a hose up to it to drain the excess.

This Igloo cooler has Ultratherm insulation and should be more than capable of keeping ice preserved during a single afternoon at the stadium. Some users have complained that the latches break within the first year, but others have said that Igloo sent them replacement latches free of charge in the mail.

Igloo Ice Cube Maxcold Roller Cooler for Tailgating

Large cooler with a unique cube-shaped design if you are looking for a little more vertical size to your cooler. Wheeled, fits up to 114 cans.

Coleman Wheeled Cooler Tailgating cooler

  • Large-sized Tailgate Party
  • Fits up to 84 cans
  • Wheeled for mobility
  • 23 x 18 x 18 inches

In our opinion, this is the best Coleman cooler for tailgating, and the best cooler for tailgating if you are operating on a budget. What you are buying with this cooler is an easy-to-move cooler that covers all the basic needs at a reasonable cost so that you can just get on with your tailgate.

This is the current price of this Coleman cooler at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon). This cooler may not have the premium long-term ice-preservation of a YETI, but as far as functionality, when you combine it with the cheaper price, it might be your better option.

Like we discussed above, preserving ice at a single-afternoon tailgate is not as important as a 3-day camping trip. Coleman and Igloo coolers should be just fine for a single afternoon in the sun.

This Coleman cooler is wheeled and can fit up to 84 cans. It has a telescoping handle which makes it easy to move, and it has four built-in cup holders on top.

Again, the main draw for this cooler is it is a cheaper option, that holds a large amount of cans, and is easy-to-move, and most importantly, just let’s you get on with your party. Yes, it doesn’t offer the status and appeal of a YETI, but that might not be what you need.

Coleman Steel-Belted Tailgating Cooler

Retro steel-belted heavy duty cooler that will feel like a step back in time (in a good way). Cool vintage look. Holds up to 85 cans. Has a lid latch that can be locked.

Coleman Xtreme Cooler for Tailgating

  • Large-sized Tailgate Party
  • Fits up to 85 cans comfortably
  • Wheeled for mobility
  • 31.5 x 17 x 15.5 inches (W x H x D)

This Coleman 62 quart cooler comes with 4 can holders on the top of the lid, and also can provide extra bench seating at a large tailgate. It holds up to 85 cans, but if you wanted to combine cans with food, you could probably fit 50-60 cans and food comfortably with ice.

This cooler does not come with a dry goods rack so you might want to couple it with some Rubbermaid plastic containers or something similar. But there is a lot to like here. It’s easier to move than most all YETI coolers, it’s large which gives you versatility, it has can holders on top, it is wheeled, and it also is easier on the wallet than a YETI cooler.

Igloo Trailmate Journey Tailgating Cooler

  • Large-sized Tailgate Party
  • Has a Serving Tray That Extends
  • Bottle Openers Built In
  • Wheeled for mobility
  • 34.59 x 19.7 x 23.61 inches
  • 34.7 Pounds (Without Ice)

This might be the most versatile cooler on the list. The only questions is will you need all the versatility that it offers?

This Igloo cooler is wheeled and also has a butler serving tray that extends from the front of the cooler so that you can serve snacks or rest drinks. For tailgating, this might serve as a nice extra serving table for you to rest condiments or snacks.

It also has a built-in storage container, and it comes with wheels which make it easy to move. It has six can holders and has two bottle-openers built in. If you are looking for versatility, this is the cooler for you.

8 Things to Consider When Buying a Cooler for Tailgating

  • Size – Obviously, the size of your tailgate will matter. If you are going to host 10+ people, you will need a large cooler to store drinks and food. You will probably want a 50 quart minimum cooler if you are hosting 10+ people
  • Mobility – Do you need wheels? Will you have help carrying the cooler? Some YETI coolers are extremely heavy, and might have to throw together a group of people to carry it to and from the vehicle.
  • Dividers – Some coolers for tailgating are made with divider slots where you can purchase dividers to keep your beverages and food separate. Is this something that will matter for you?
  • Other Uses – YETI is known for its ability to preserve ice much longer than other cheaper coolers. The thing is, for a single afternoon at the stadium, that might not matter so much. But will you have other uses for the YETI? Camping? Road Trips? RV?
  • Budget – As with most things, the decision on a tailgating cooler will come down in large part to budget. YETIs are quite expensive. Are you willing to pay for quality in a cooler?
  • Table – Will you need your cooler to act as extra bench seating or table space? Due to small tailgating space, some people prefer to set supplies and/or condiments on top of their cooler.

If you are hosting a tailgate party, here are some of our other resources to help you get the party going in the right direction:

Paul Johnson

Paul has been with us from our beginnings. He focuses on a wide range of sports, including NFL, NBA, MLB and golf.

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